Rejoice! Zimbabwe’s new President, Emmerson Mnangagwa, has taken steps to ban the trade of live elephants. The African leader also banned trade of other endangered wild animals, such as the rhinoceros, lions, and pangolins, which are endangered. As Daily News reports, the announcement comes just after the devastating export of 34 baby elephants who who were sent to China in late 2017.
As you may remember, the condemning video footage showed a group of men sprinting through the bush, searching for a young wild elephant they had shot with a tranquilizer. What happened next spurred global outcry. As the sedated elephant lay on the ground, the men harshly moved her to a nearby trailer. The 5-month-old elephant attempted to stand, groggy from sedation, as the men smacked and kicked her in the head, repeatedly, with their boots. Another man yanked her backward with ropes.
Said Joyce Poole, an elephant behavior expert and co-director of ElephantVoices, upon reviewing the footage: “The men are trying to get the calf into the container behind, pulling, kicking and hitting it, and while she would feel that she is being battered, she would not yet be able to cry out, to struggle or respond. It is like coming out of anaesthesia to find yourself being attacked and hurt, but not being able to understand or to do anything about it.”
After capturing the wild baby elephant, the men repeated the process. According to the unidentified source, the group caught a total of 34 elephants that day. The baby pachyderms were exported to China.
The backlash Zimbabwe received propelled President Mnangagwa to ban the live export of elephants and other endangered animals. His actions could not be more different than those of former president Robert Mugabe. Not only is Mnangagwa working on rolling back many of his predecessor’s policies, he has committed the government to conservation efforts.
“This is a very significant moment in Zimbabwe’s history and we understand that we have a lot of work to do in ensuring the protection of our natural resources,” said Mnangagwa. “Conservation and tourism go hand in hand and my government is committed to ensuring the safety of visitors and to working with partners to increase our conservation efforts to protect our natural world.”
Mnangagwa continued, “We undertake this commitment not just for the people of Zimbabwe but to allow people around the world to experience one of the most beautiful countries in Africa.”
Zimbabwe’s President went on to commend the newly-formed Akashinga project, project, which was started by the International Anti-Poaching Foundation. The organization works to train local women to be rangers in an effort to stop poaching. “Women will play a vital role in the rebuilding of Zimbabwe. Through this programme, women are being empowered to make a positive contribution to their communities and to protect our precious wildlife. We salute their bravery and commitment,” said Mnangagwa.
As OneGreenPlanet reports, several other countries — including Namibia, Swaziland, Mexico, and the United States — still allow the trade of wild elephants. Hopefully, Zimbabwe’s new stance encourages other leaders to put an end to the cruel wildlife trade.
What are your thoughts? Please comment below and share this news!
Image Credit: Flickr